Praise is good, and when our most distinguished advertiser is at the receiving end, well, we feel compelled to share. In case you missed it, The New York Times Book Review, that beloved battle-axe, took up our favorite book of the year, and their enthusiasm appears to equal our own:
“In this rollicking account of professional baseball’s formative years, Lamster recreates Spalding’s six-month barnstorming tour around the world. As Lamster sees it, Spalding, baseball and late-19th-century America were made for one another: all were “surging,” “audacious,” “on the make.” Joining Spalding were several of baseball’s founding fathers, including Cap Anson, the White Stockings’ combustible team captain, and Ned Hanlon, a future Hall of Famer and one of the most influential managers in the game’s history. (The traveling shows also featured a hot-air-balloon acrobat and an African-American mascot.) Lamster’s attention to on- and off-the-field details is as rigorous as Spalding’s itinerary. [He] incorporates a wonderful cast of supporting characters-Mark Twain toasts the returning players at a celebratory dinner at Delmonico’s-and looks at early strife between owners and players. The tour itself was not a financial success; more than anything, it was a promotional event. And as Lamster shows, Spalding and the game of baseball were the beneficiaries.
Not bad at all. And there’s more where that came from.